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Row as tractor squeezes by ambulance tending to boy with suspected coronavirus

The tractor with large attachment squeezing by parked vehicles in The Street, Syderstone. Picture: Steve Kidd

The tractor with large attachment squeezing by parked vehicles in The Street, Syderstone. Picture: Steve Kidd

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A row over tractors driving through a Norfolk village erupted after one got stuck when trying to pass by a double-parked ambulance.

Paramedics were tending to a child with suspected Covid-19 in The Street, Syderstone, near Fakenham, when the incident happened around 3.30pm on Monday, April 27.

But when the Holkham Farming Company tractor, which was pulling a large piece of farm machinery, found itself unable to pass, its driver was confronted by resident Steve Kidd.

Mr Kidd said he wanted to highlight the issue of tractors using The Street, which he said was avoidable if they took a short detour.

Mr Kidd said: “I got very angry. We appreciate that tractors are doing a job for the good of the country, but where there is an alterative route they should be taking it. Otherwise there’s going to be an accident.”

The tractor squeezing by parked vehicles in The Street, Syderstone. Picture: Steve KiddThe tractor squeezing by parked vehicles in The Street, Syderstone. Picture: Steve Kidd

The tractor and its trailer were eventually able to squeeze by the ambulance, but Mr Kidd said it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

He said: “When I challenged them, I got a load of abuse, but must admit I did give them some back. They could have damaged a valuable ambulance. We’ve had tractors coming through for years, but they seem to be getting bigger and bigger. It’s a fairly narrow road and when they have these big hunks of farm machinery on the back it’s ridiculous.”

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James Beamish, Holkham Farming Company’s general manager, said it was a normal transit of a tractor through the village, and this piece of machinery was taken through once a year in spring for drilling season.

Mr Beamish said the vehicle careful passed by the ambulance with the guidance of a Holkham employee and a helpful member of the public.

He said: “Road safety is taken very seriously by the whole farming team, and at the time passing the ambulance was deemed the most sensible decision to take as turning or reversing such a large piece of machinery were far less favourable options. Holkham’s thoughts are with the boy and his family at this worrying time.”

While not commenting on the incident itself, East of England Ambulance Service chief executive Dorothy Hosein said ambulance crews were instructed to be considerate where they parked. She also asked people to remember that paramedics were doing life-saving work.

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Ms Hosein said: “In areas where parking is limited, an ambulance may need to park in the first available space to attend an ill or injured patient.

“No-one deserves to be abused for doing their job, so if a marked ambulance is parked across your drive for a few minutes or blocking your access, please think – is getting past or parking in your space more important than a neighbour’s life?”


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